The world of PC gaming has been rocked once again with the launch of the Asus ROG Ally – the new contender for the title of best handheld device in the industry. While Steam Deck currently holds the crown for portability, the Asus ROG Ally has come with some impressive upgrades, promising anything up to a staggering 71% increase in gaming performance compared to the current champion. However, is this new tech really the game-changer we’re all hoping for, or are there caveats to this new device?

At the heart of the Asus ROG Ally sits the latest AMD mobile APU, the Z1 Extreme. This chip is built on the new 4nm processor node, which is a major advantage when compared to the Steam Deck’s 7nm design. The CPU core count has doubled, with frequencies increasing dramatically, while the GPU has 50% more compute units. The GPU also boasts architecture upgrades via RDNA 3 and a lot more frequency. With 16GB of LPDDR5 across a 128-bit memory interface, the core specs of the Asus ROG Ally are certainly impressive.

However, the packaging of the device could be improved. There isn’t much to the Ally’s packaging, and the handheld itself is not protected. The provided paperwork, 65W power supply, and power cable all sit below the device. Asus also supplied a separate charger that doubles as a USB hub, featuring an HDMI 2.0 output, but this item is a separate purchase for users.

The handheld design, on the other hand, is remarkable. The Ally is easy to hold with textured grips, Xbox-like face buttons, stick and d-pad, clicky shoulder buttons, triggers, and on the rear sits a couple of ‘paddle’-style buttons. IO consists of power and volume buttons, a single USB-C, a micro-SD slot, and a 3.5mm stereo jack for headsets.

The screen is excellent, bright, with excellent color reproduction. It’s a 1080p panel that operates at 120Hz and supports FreeSync, which looks fantastic.

Finally, the cooling design of the Asus ROG Ally is eye-catching. The device has twin fans, zero gravity thermal system, fluid dynamic bearings, 0.1mm ultra-thin fins, which make it the quietest PC gaming handheld presently available in the market.

However, while the Asus ROG Ally seems to out-spec Steam Deck, the battery life and bugs seem to be problematic. Battery life can be challenging on Deck, but it’s a whole lot more difficult on a Windows machine, and the Asus ROG Ally doesn’t quite crack that, which was discovered during testing.

Overall, the Asus ROG Ally seems to pave the way for the future of PC gaming handheld devices, but while it has impressive hardware specs and performance, the low battery life is a major sore point. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a lightweight but powerful option to play on the go, the Asus ROG Ally may be worth the investment.

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The material in this article is written on the basis of another article.

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